Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Carne Diem
Origin: American South, North American
Method: Grill or Smoker, Dutch OvenJump to Recipe
One the iconic American foods, chili has become one of the most popular foods in America. Seemingly every family has their own closely guarded chili recipe and secret ingredients. When it comes to chili, however, few take the dish more serious than the Texans. For our Texas Red Chili with Smoked Chuck Roast we cook the bowl of Texas Red, Over the Top Style, on our smoker. Flavorful chuck roast is seasoned and then smoked over a Dutch oven allowing the drippings to collect and flavor the chili. The meat is then cubed and cooked until tender along with seasoning made from whole chilis.
Table of contents
- What is Texas Red Chili?
- Making Homemade Texas Red Chili: Ingredients
- Classic Red Chili Recipe
- Serving the Over the Top, Smoked Texas Chili
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Texas Red Chili?
Texas Red Chili, or chili con carne, was believed to have originated near San Antonio in the 18th century, before spreading across Texas during cattle drives. Beef, bison, and chilis were in abundance and could be cooked over campfires during the long cattle drives. Nationally chili began to gain popularity during the Chicago Expedition in 1893 when San Antonio set up a chili stand at the festival. Today a bowl of Texas Red is recognized as the official food of Texas with International societies dedicated to its legacy.
Making Homemade Texas Red Chili: Ingredients
Making Texas style chili at home is easy and fun. It can be completely customizable so make it your own. The following chili recipe with smoked chuck roast is fantastic as is, but feel free to make it your own family recipe.
What Meat is Best For Texas Style Chili?
Texas Style Chili works best with meat that can hold up to prolonged cooking times. Traditionally, cheaper tougher cuts of meat were used. These tough cuts were cubed and slow cooked until tender. Our favorite cut for Texas Red Chili is chuck roast, though we have also made this Texas chili with buffalo rump roast and it turned out fantastic.
Can I use beans, onions, or tomatoes in Texas Style Chili?
Ask any Texan and they will tell you that beans have no place in Texas Style Red Chili. The focus on a classic Bowl of Red is the tender cooked meat and the chilis. In fact, some purists will also claim that onion and any tomato products are also taboo, but there tends to be a little more leniency with these ingredients. As both onion and tomatoes are considered ok to use by the Chili Appreciation Society International (CASI), we find them perfectly acceptable for use in Texas Chili. Regardless, if onion and tomatoes are used in Texas Red Chili, as we do here, they should be supporting characters in the chili and not distract from the true stars of the dish: the meat and chiles.
Best Chile Peppers to Use in Texas Chili
The choice of chili peppers to use in your chili is very much a matter of preference. We like to use a base of guajillo peppers along with a combination of ancho, pasilla, and New Mexico or California chilis. For this purpose we typically use dried chilis. In addition, we add fresh chilis like jalapeno, serrano, or Fresno peppers to control the heat in the chili.
Classic Red Chili Recipe
To make a pot of Texas Style Chili you will need assorted dried and fresh chilis, beef broth, red onion, a number of spices and seasonings, and a can of crushed tomatoes.
First, prep your ingredients by finely dicing the red onion and fresh chilis.
Trim any excess fat from the chuck roast. When choosing a chuck roast, look for one that is well marbled and tender.
Combine the ingredients for seasoning 1, which includes salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Season the chuck roast with chili seasoning 1 on both sides.
Prep the chili sauce
Soak the chilis in hot water for 20 minutes. For a better flavor heat the dried chilis over a flame or in a hot skillet briefly to soften, then place in the water. Take care not to burn the chilis.
Remove the seeds and stems from the chilis and add to a food processor with the beef broth. Process until chilis are finely diced, then pass through a medium mesh food sieve or colander to remove the remaining seeds and large pieces of skin.
In a Dutch oven, sauté the onion and jalapeno in a small about of oil, for about 5 minutes then stir in the remaining spices and garlic. Add in the chili pepper sauce and tomatoes and stir to combine.
Cooking Over the Top Style Texas Chili
Preheat your grill or smoker to 225-250 degrees and place the Dutch oven in the smoker. Place a wire rack above the Dutch oven and cook the chuck roast on top. Allow the drippings to fall into the Dutch oven.
Continue to smoke the chuck roast at 225-250 degrees for 4 hours or until the chuck roast reaches an internal temperature of about 175-185 degrees as measured by a indwelling meat thermometer.
Next, remove the smoked chuck roast from the smoker and cube the meat into ½-inch chunks. If desired you can also cube the meat smaller. Remove any large pieces of un-rendered fat. Next, add the cubed meat to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.
Cover the Dutch oven and continue to cook until the meat is tender, about 2 hours. About every 30 minutes, give the Texas Red Chili a stir to make sure the bottom in not burning. Finally, stir in the lime juice and masa and stir to combine.
Test the meat for tenderness before serving. Additional masa can be used for additional thickening. Finally, taste and adjust salt to taste.
Serving the Over the Top, Smoked Texas Chili
Serve the Texas Red Chili with diced onions, shredded cheese, and corn chips. The Bowl of Red is fantastic alongside some Green Chile Cornbread, Charro Beans With Hickory Smoked Bacon, and Grilled Corn and Goat Cheese Salad.
Leftover chili will keep for several days in the refrigerator. If it is going to be more than a few days the homemade Texas style no bean chili freezes well, making it a great chili recipe to make in bulk.
Be sure to check out more of our Dutch Oven and Cast Iron recipes to cook on your grill or smoker:
- Over the Top Smoked Mississippi Pot Roast
- Beer Braised Beef Cheek Barbacoa
- Jamaican Style Cast Iron Oxtail Stew
- Cochinita Pibil on your Grill or Smoker
- Brazilian Feijoada: Meat and Black Bean Stew
- Cast Iron Chicken Fajitas
- Cast Iron Spinach Artichoke Dip
- Pequod’s Inspired Cast Iron Pizza
For more Texas and Tex-Mex style recipes check out these Spicy Double Smash Burger on Texas Toast, Authentic Mexican Migas: Mexican Breakfast Skillet, Hatch Chile Verde, and Grilled Sonoran Hot Dogs recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditional Texas chili does not contain beans. In fact, if you ask some purists, even onion and tomato products are taboo. Whatever you decide to use in your Texas style chili, the meat and chile peppers should be the star of the dish.
Over the top chili is a method of cooking chili, typically on a grill or smoker, where the meat is cooked above the pot of chili allowing the drippings to season the chili.
Texas red chili typically makes use of a variety of dried and fresh chiles. Common varieties include guajillo, pasilla, New Mexico, California, and ancho. Fresh jalapenos, serranos, and other fresh chiles may also be used.
Chile is any variety of hot pepper. Chili is the dish or a chombination of chiles may be used to make a chili powder.
Masa is one of the best ingredients to thicken chili. In addition to adding more body to the chili, it also adds some great Tex-Mex flavor to the dish.
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Texas Red Chili with Smoked Chuck Roast
- Dutch Oven
- 2-3 Pound Chuck Roast
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 4 Dried Guajillo Chilis
- 3 Dried Ancho, Pasilla, or New Mexico Chilis
- 2 Cups Beef Broth
- 16 Ounce Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 Red Onion Diced
- 2 Jalapenos diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves minced
- 2 Tablespoons Cumin
- 2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano
- 2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 2 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Cayenne
- ½ teaspoon Chipotle Powder
- 2 Tablesoons Masa
- 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
- Season the chuck roast with chili seasoning 1.
- Soak the chilis in hot water for 20 minutes or heat over a flame or in a hot skillet, then place in the water.
- Remove the seeds and stems and add to a food processor with the beef broth.
- Process until chiles are finely diced, then pass through a medium mesh food sieve or colander to remove the remaining seeds and large pieces of skin.
- In a Dutch oven sauté the onion and jalapeno for about 5 minutes then stir in the spices and garlic.
- Add in the chile pepper sauce and tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Place a wire rack above the Dutch oven and cook the chuck roast over the Dutch oven, allowing the drippings to fall into the Dutch oven.
- Smoke at 225-250 degrees for 4 hours.
- Cube the meat into ½-inch chunks and add to the Dutch oven.
- Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 2 hours.